6 The Winged Wolves
We head now to the Hildian system, a group of over 5,000 asteroids within Jupiter’s orbital range.
Many of these asteroids are tiny, but some are large enough to be able to sustain small families of wolves, and other remarkable rock-dwelling creatures.
One of these asteroids, the one we are most interested in, is named Wild. On this asteroid, live a most remarkable species of wolves ever to have been discovered – the Winged Wolves.
Wild has a stable nuclear core, which creates a climate with the perfect habitat for these elusive creatures. Water, beneath the surface, is heated sufficiently enough for it to evaporate through the nutrient-rich soil and into the atmosphere, where it rains back down in torrential and magnificent electrical storms, bathing the dark world in a spectacular blue glow.
When these storms pass over, and calmness once again returns, the winged wolves leave their caves to hunt. They feed on small mouse-sized creatures which also emerge after the storm, and a flightless bird that resembles a peacock.
Because of the atmosphere, small shrub-like plants and trees grow, and one in particular produces an almost limitless supply of small purple berries, which all of the animals on Wild can live on quite happily, until the wolves’ ferocious appetite kicks in, and it is then, after the storms, when all creatures begin their foraging that the wolves become hunters.
They hunt in packs of three or four, sometimes cornering their prey, other times chasing it directly into the jaws of another of their fellow hunters.
They share their catches between the pack, and then sleep soundly back in their burrows and caves once they’ve had their fill.
Like most wolves, wherever they live, the Winged Wolves like nothing better than to have a joyous sing song. After their feast, one wolf will howl, as if in response to the light being reflected from one of Wild’s neighbouring asteroids, and then, one by one, others will join in.
They sing in harmony with each other, their musical tones almost wrapping around and dancing with each other. It is during these choral performances that the Winged Wolves fly; they have no need to fly when they hunt, as they are the only creatures on Wild with the ability of flight. When not in flight, they can reduce the size of their wings, and fold them neatly from their shoulders and down their back. But when in flight, they unfurl them to their fullest length, which can sometimes twice their body length – or longer!
But as they sing higher and higher, they fly higher and higher, dancing with each other through the shadows of this oval-shaped twilight world. Their singing will reach a crescendo, and when it does, suddenly, they stop.
Total silence returns.
Gently, the Winged Wolves return back to the ground, and back to their burrows, where they will remain until the next storm, when their cycle begins once again.
This is the final part of the Legends of Europa… for now?
With thanks to Icewolf for allowing me to explore the Legends of Europa further.